Nov 29, 11
Read in November, 2011
An American Feast is a group of historical essays about significant Thanksgiving feasts in American history. Specifically, Fleming writes of the first, Pilgrim Thanksgiving, two thanksgiving periods involving the Continental Army during the Revolution, the creation of a permanent Thanksgiving holiday during the Civil War, the linking of Thanksgiving with Christmas shopping during the later stages of the Great Depression and the celebration of Thanksgiving in England during World War II.
All six stories, with two and three really combined together, tell a historically accurate, yet winsomely written history. This short work would work great for family reflection during the Thanksgiving holidays, as the essays are written so that they sound well orally given.
Fleming's attempt to place a celebration of Thanksgiving in the middle of crisis events, thereby showing how the celebrants approach to being thankful for their blessings, heightens his narrative. By grounding the work in actual history, he avoids sentimentality, and unites present day readers with the cloud of witnesses who experienced difficult times and responded by showing gratitude.